Important points in cycling biomechanics

Biomechanics of cycling is the study of the interaction between the rider, the bicycle and the environment to optimise performance and prevent injury. Below are some important points in cycling biomechanics:

Bicycle fit

It is crucial that the bicycle is correctly adjusted to suit the rider’s anatomical and physical characteristics. This involves adjusting the saddle height, pedal position, handlebar angle and other components of the bike.

Body position

The position of the rider’s body on the bike is critical to maximising efficiency and minimising fatigue. Proper position involves keeping the back straight, shoulders relaxed, elbows slightly bent and abdominal muscles engaged.

Joint angles

Joint angles at major joints (e.g. knees, hips and ankles) are important to ensure efficient biomechanics. An improper angle can place excessive stresses on the joints and increase the risk of injury.

Pedalling cadence

Cadence refers to the speed of pedal rotation per minute. Maintaining an optimal cadence, generally between 80 and 100 rpm, can help reduce muscle tension and improve pedalling efficiency.

Load distribution

Proper weight distribution between the saddle, pedals and handlebars is essential to maintain balance and minimise stress on different parts of the body. Adjusting body position and load distribution can help avoid discomfort and injury in areas such as the back, shoulders and hands.

Joint movement

It is important to consider the range of joint movement during cycling. Excessive or limited movement can affect efficiency and increase the risk of injury. The study of biomechanics can help identify and correct imbalances or asymmetries in joint movement.

Bicycle component ergonomics

Bicycle components, such as the saddle, pedals, handlebars and shoe cleats, should be ergonomic and suitable for the individual characteristics of the rider. Incorrect adjustment of these components can affect comfort and efficiency.

Injuries and prevention

Biomechanics of cycling also addresses injury prevention. By studying the mechanics of movement, joint loading and movement patterns, risk factors can be identified and strategies developed to minimise the risk of common injuries, such as knee injuries, back injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome.

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